Published on September 8th, 2011 | by Derek Strickland, Contributor
Doom & Destiny Xbox Indie Review
Platform: Xbox 360 (Xbox Live Indie Games)
Price: 240 MSP ($3)
Developer: HeartBit Interactive
XBLIG Link: Doom & Destiny
Four imaginative teenage friends–who are adept RPG’ers–find a rulebook to a game called Doom & Destiny The handbook piques their interest, and they decide to take part in the adventure that lies within its pages. Little do they know that by enacting the journey within the handbook, they also forge a path to a legendary destiny.
Francis, Johnny, Mike and Nigel all start off as everyday role-playing enthusiasts and end up being lamented as unlikely heroes of an ancient kingdom full of legend and adventure. Through countless battles and training our heroes solidify their position as champions of the realm, and every level-up builds their affinity for heroism.
This fictional medieval fantasy land is rife with archetypal elements and imagery, shedding light on an ancient prophecy where five heroes come to defend the lands against the evils of the Unnamed One. The realm’s divine emperor, Destiny, is worshiped as a paragon of all that is good. Our heroes confront a king who tells the four of their destiny to become the defenders of the realm and to defeat the chaotic darkness that the Unnamed one brings.
In an expansion of the classic archetypal Hero’s Journey, this Xbox Indie utilizes original concepts as well as often used elements to provide an epic and original story arc that’s fitting for a role-playing title. Will our four friends fulfill their roles in the annals of history and save the realm, or will they perish and doom the entire world?
Doom & Destiny is quite an expansive Xbox Indie RPG that incorporates a seamless blend of both classic and new game mechanics to provide for an enjoyable gaming experience. With features such as an integrated progressive EXP system which is complete with stat points, battle formations, and a myriad of powers. There are also many weapons, armors, and other helpful interfaces to progress their journey.
This game is built on the standard foundations that are included in nearly all J-RPG’s, whether they’re massive four-disc games, or a small Indie title spanning a few hours. All the regular aspects apply to Doom & Destiny: ‘HP’ is health; ‘MP’ is mana, which is needed to cast spells and abilities. The game is over when all team members in your squad die off. There are level-ups, stats, items, a map screen, and of course a fictional currency known as “Golz“.
The EXP system is much as RPG veterans would expect. Players grind EXP from defeating foes in battle and level-ups require a progressively increasing amount of EXP to move onto the next. Upon leveling up, players will be able to distribute a default value of three points to each of the four stat points. Also, players may receive a ‘Power Point (PP)’ which is spent on new spells, abilities, or powers.
Stats in this game are quite dynamic and have a direct effect on battle, which is a nice change as many Xbox Indie RPG’s have either too many, or too little stats. Each stat modifies characters in different and unique ways, and each stat has two attributes are key to effectively personalizing the team. The stats and their effects are listed below, along with each of their attributes:
- MIGHT – Governs HP and STR, raises health and directly affects the damage done in battle.
- CHAR – Charisma governs MP and SPI (Spirit) which affects mana and magical spell damage.
- GRIT – Grit governs RES (Resistance) and CRI (Critical) which affects a character’s resistance to status ailments as well as a chance to do critical damage.
- DEXT – Dexterity governs EVA (Evasion) and SPD (Speed) which affect the ability to dodge attacks and battle line formation.
Each of the four characters in our heroic team has their own classes, each of which aren’t interchangeable and modified. This isn’t a problem, however, as Doom & Destiny has an impressive level of character customization through the many available Powers. These Powers act as spells and abilities that can be cast in battle, or are passive and always activated.
The four classes–Ninja, Warrior, Pirate, and Magus–each have their own stat proficiency. For example, Francis the Ninja, has bonuses to DEXT, while Nigel the Magus, and has bonuses to CHAR, which is the stat that affects mana and magical attack damage.
Apart from customizing character classes and battle roles by balancing attribute points, the unique feature of equipping spells using ‘Power Points’ allows gamers to change their strategy out of battle. Players purchase spells and abilities from NPC trainers, each of which are identified by the floating light bulb displayed above their heads.
Each hero has a limited pool of Power Points, and can equip and un-equip any spell they’ve purchased at any time. This is very useful and makes characters quite flexible to perform a variety of roles in battle.
Players will want to explore their options when it comes to purchasing spells and abilities, as the amount of Golz (the in-game currency) that each player has is varied. It’s best to pay attention to the descriptions of each spell at the top, and maybe save your game before purchasing and try each spell out in battle. Sometimes it takes a bit of trial and error when finding the right set of spells for each character in your party, and it’s quite important as it determines what roles each party member plays in battle.
The battle system in Doom & Destiny is quite creative and builds off of the classic turn-based approach. Both enemies and allies’ turns are represented in a linear range; their placement on the line itself is determined by the SPD (Speed) attribute. Characters with higher SPD will always be at the front of the line. This linear indicator is extremely helpful as it allows players to strategically plan their next move, showing which enemies are attacking next.
Status ailments such as Sleep can make players skip a turn, and any negative augmentation to the SPD attribute will push players back a few turns. Each spell and ability used in battle will put the character in a new position. The main battle interface is designed quite well and allows combat to flow naturally and fluidly.
One of the most unique features in Doom & Destiny is the party tactics system. This system is largely dependent upon the party leader, which can be any of the four characters at any time. There are three battle stances that each member can be put in that are arranged in linear placement: back, middle, and front. Characters put in the back of the line receive a certain bonus, where as those placed in the front receive a different bonus, and the middle grounds have no bonuses or subtractions.
Each character promotes a different bonus that’s related to their class; the magus promotes MP and SPI, the warrior promotes HP and STR, the ninja promotes SPD and EVA, and the pirate promotes CRI and RES.
There is a balance to these bonuses, however: those in the back receive a negative bonus to whatever attribute is added in the front. For example, if Nigel is placed as party leader, he gives a specific bonus to both MP and SPI.
Characters placed in the back will receive a bonus to MP and subtractions from SPI, and as an inverse, those placed in the front will get a bonus to SPI but have a subtraction from their MP. Those placed in the middle receive no additions or subtractions from either stat–unless the party leader is level 10 or so, then they receive a small bonus to each stat.
The tactics system allows gamers to strategically place each character in a certain arrangement that benefits their class and their role in battle. This system makes each character even more flexible as they can be equipped with gear and spells that adequately fit their roles. This system is built from the battle placement tactics found in many classic J-RPG’s.
There is a quite expansive variety of items featured in Doom & Destiny, each of which fit one of five different types. Each party member can equip one of each type of item: Weapons, Utilities, Rings, Armors, and Accessories. There are a wide variety of items of each type that have specific bonuses to attributes, many of which fit just about any need that you’d have.
Most weapons and armors are character-specific, meaning they can only be used by one character. The accessories, rings, and utilities, however, can almost always be equipped by any player. Equip-able items can be purchased at a variety of weapon shops throughout the world, and often each shop will have a different inventory of merchandise.
Many of the weapons and armors will add bonuses to attributes that further add to their utility. Mixing and matching different items such as utilities and accessories can help fortify any character, and balance their stats so that they are more resilient in battle. It’s possible to pump up one attribute heavily or to spread out bonuses so that party members are balanced–the choice is up to you.
It’s not always best to equip the weapon that does the most damage, as it might have a valuable attribute bonus that makes a character more flexible in battle. Paying attention to what stats need boosted and which characters need more health and mana is important, and the wide variety of items can often solve any problem dealing with low stats.
Along with the myriad of equip-able items there are consumables that are essential to any RPG. These items are extremely important to stock up on, especially One-Ups. In Doom & Destiny, all food items restore HP whereas all drinks and beverages restore MP. There are a variety of grades to each item, such as Pizza and Panino sandwiches for HP and Orange Juice, Wine, and Beer to restore MP.
Magic potions are more expensive than food and beverages but these potions heal both MP and HP, and also come in a variety of grades. There are also medicinal items such as Aspirin and Placebo tablets that take away status ailments, and of course the all-important One-Up which is like a Phoenix Down in the Final Fantasy series.
Every Indie title has its own unique features that separate it from other games in the genre. Doom & Destiny has a variety of interesting and original elements that bring an enjoyable RPG experience. D&D incorporates a few interesting aspects such as its expansive in-game bestiary, the robust in-game battle system, and the use of clichés and satirical motifs that both honor and poke fun at other popular RPG’s and legendary games.
Doom & Destiny’s battle system is quite original as it combines a variety of elements found in other RPG’s and melds them together in a new way. The linear turn interface allows gamers to plan out their next move and offers a chance to stay one step ahead of enemies. The complex tactics system brings a whole new level of customization and character balance, both adding and subtracting to bonus attributes depending on the party leader.
One of the most unique features in this Xbox Indie RPG adventure is its humorous use of satire and cliches that often act as a homage to other unforgettable classic games. Sometimes this motif of poking fun at other games–whether its character names or actual story concepts–can be a bit frustrating, however most of the time it’s humorous and refreshing not having to remember complicated story details and names.
The Final Truth: Doom & Destiny is an expansive and entertaining Indie RPG that will have all role-playing enthusiasts busy for days upon a time. With enthralling elements like an original and noteworthy battle interface that’s laden with tactics and strategy, the title breaks new grounds in the genre of Xbox Indie RPG’s. The level of quality that’s reflected in this game is quite high, and apart from multiple spelling errors, this RPG adventure is a shining gem in the XBLIG marketplace.
With its awesome classic bit-style graphics and high-quality sounds and music, Doom & Destiny revitalizes the classic RPG experience and revamps many of the traditional aspects to make its own unique mark in the genre. It is highly recommended for all RPG fans out there, especially gamers who prefer classic NES/SNES games of old.
For more information on Doom & Destiny and the Independent XNA studio that created it, HeartBit Interactive, please visit the official website.
+ Impressive artwork and visuals
+ Classic J-RPG experience
+ Innovative game mechanics and concepts
+ Hour’s worth of entertainment
+ Humorous story arc with punctual characters and NPC’s
– A plethora of spelling errors
– Can be frustrating early on
– Tailored specifically to RPG fans–may be boring to some